Computer Science Large Practical (2014—2015)

Course Description

The Computer Science Large Practical exposes students to the problems that arise with the design and implementation of large scale computer systems, and to methods of coping with such problems. Students will gain experience in how to:

Further details can be obtained by visiting the drps page for the course.




There is no exam for this course, assessment is 100% based on the assigned coursework.


The coursework will be detailed further in the lectures.

The coursework handout is available here.

Example coursework input will appear in the Coursework Examples tab above.

General University and School of Informatics rules for course work


There are two parts, the deadlines are:



The coursework handout is available here.

The slides for the first lecture are available here.


Can I submit both an early submission version and a version for the end deadline and have the marks for whichever is highest?
No. Before the early submission deadline you have to choose whether or not you are going to hope for a mark above 90% now, or have an extra week to accumulate more marks up to 90%. The submission marked will be the latest one made before the deadline. Hence if you submit both before and after the early submission deadline, only the last submission will be marked and it will be capped to 90%.
What is the proposed maximum number of bins in a given area?
It is foreseeable that the number of bins in an area may limit e.g. the possibility of performing exhaustive search to find an optimal route. For this practical we will assume the number of bins in an area is specified as an unsigned int value, i.e. the maximum number is 65,535.
How long does it take to service (empty) a lorry at the waste processing facility?
While in practice it usual takes longer to empty a lorry than to service a single bin, to make things simpler we will consider these service times to be equal.
Can a lorry receive an updated route from the depot while in service, as a bin's occupancy threshold may be reached after the lorry's departure?
No. While this scenario is foreseeable, we will assume lorries are assigned routes only prior to their departure from the waste processing facility.
The occupancy of some bins may increase as a lorry traverses a planned route and as a consequence the lorry may not be able to service all assigned bins due to capacity constraints. How should the lorry proceed in situations like this?
How you deal with such events is a design choice you should make. You can either i) conservatively assign fewer bins on a single run, to avoid capacity problems, ii) return following the planned route without servicing other bins in that run if this happens, iii) compute the shortest path from the current bin and return to the depot, or iv) implement a combination of these or other similar strategies. Just make sure you explain your choice in the final report and comment your code appropriately.

Slides and Lecture Log

Slides for upcoming lectures should appear here before the lecture and will remain once the lecture has been given. Slides are subject to some minor modifications at any time prior to the start of the lecture.

Introduction - 19th September

Slides are available here. I finished at the coursework handout slide here.

I gave an overview of the course and discussed the requirements for the practical. I emphasised that these slides should not be seen as a substitute for reading and comprehending the coursework handout.

Introduction - 26th September

Slides are available here.

Example Input for the Main Coursework

Example input will be gathered here. More complex examples will appear throughout the first semester.

Last Updated: 25th September 2014 --- Paul Patras

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